Depression; March 19, 2022

Psalm 42:1-2 As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?

Verse one is used as the first part of the lyrics of a dearly loved worship song, and rightly so. The Psalmist is in the throes of depression, and he rightly recognizes that the answer is God alone. In that he has a major advantage over many people today, who try to bury their depression in various things, quite often food or alcohol. He recognizes that his thirst isn’t for something material like that, but for his Creator. That means he’s already won over half the battle! We all have problems with our limited frame of reference. Simply grasping that we are weak, finite mortals, but we are loved by an omnipotent, eternal God should put anyone at least on the road to mental and emotional health. Sometimes that healing can happen almost instantly, but that is certainly the exception. It is far more common to gradually grow into that assurance, until one day you suddenly realize it’s been a long time since you’ve been depressed. Circumstances really have very little to do with it. A lady, Yeonmi Park, is an excellent example of that, because she came through absolutely horrible circumstances, escaping from North Korea only to be sexually trafficked in China as a young teenager, but now she is as bright and cheerful a person as you could meet. Her secret? She encountered Jesus Christ who died for her and rose again, and she chooses to be happy in her relationship with Him. She and the writer of this Psalm would certainly see eye-to-eye!

I’ve had my own struggles with depression. As a teenager I had a name for such episodes. The phrase, “a blue funk,” was common, so I called mine a “pink-and-purple-polka-dotted funk.” I only attempted suicide once, in college, and was dissuaded not by friends but by God directly, who told me, “Don’t do that.” My depression was rooted in my intellectual pride, and the more I have come to peace with the reality that I not only don’t know everything, I don’t have to know everything, the more peace I’ve had. I still love to learn and know stuff, but there is tremendous freedom in not having to be in control. I do desire to draw closer to God, but I have the assurance that, as Paul said, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12) My thirst for knowledge will be fully satisfied then! I am indeed looking forward to heaven, but in the meantime, I am enjoying life on this earth, so long as I leave control in the hands of my Creator.

Father, thank You for Your incredible grace toward me. Thank You for protecting me from myself and from so many other things. There are indeed many things I wish were different even now, but You have assured me that You don’t like them either. Help me wait in hope and peace for Your solutions to everything, so that I may grow as Your child and You may be glorified in and through me. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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